"My mother told me that Dad had gone to fly for God."
Andy Downs (AD) and Angelia Sheer (AS)
(AD): When they landed, they sat there for a few minutes. Over the radio came, “This is the FBI.”
ARCHIVAL: THIS IS THE FBI SPEAKING…
AD: ”They’ll be no fuel. Your only choice is to deplane.”
ARCHIVAL: THERE WILL BE NO FUEL, I REPEAT, THERE WILL BE NO FUEL.
AD: My father said, ”You’re endangering lives by doing this.”
ARCHIVAL: YOU’RE ENDANGERING LIVES BY DOING THIS.
AD: ”Please get the fuel out here.”
And then the FBI made the decision to start shooting at the aircraft to try to shoot out the engines and the tires.
The hijacker freaked out and killed everybody on board, including himself.
I was 18 months old and my mother told me that, “Dad had gone to fly for God.” So whenever I saw an airplane fly over, I remember pointing up, saying, “There goes daddy.” I remember that very vividly.
(AS): When this went down I was 13, I was in junior high. And my father, he was very delusional.
One time a salesman came to the door — Remember back then, you know, vacuum salesmen would come — and he actually grabbed him by the throat and threw him out of the house. And those things were commonplace.
AD: It took a long time for me to really understand, this was a mentally ill man, and, you know, in his mind was forced to do what he did.
AS: You had more heart for my father than I do.
AD: What were you thinking when I first contacted you?
AS: In a lot of ways I had a lot of guilt because my bloodline destroyed your father. And when I was 20 years old I actually sought out a trauma therapist, and I told him, I said, “If you think I should be sterilized I will go tomorrow because I will not pass this madness down to one other single person.”
And just meeting you, it helped my heart and soul understand that there was still love and compassion in the world, even when there’s so much darkness.
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StoryCorps is America’s oral history project. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected more than 60,000 interviews with over 100,000 participants from all backgrounds -- the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered.
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